One of the Minneapolis police officers who knelt on George Floyd’s back to restrain him as he died has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison.
J Alexander Kueng accepted a plea deal in October. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of aiding and abetting second degree manslaughter.
Kueng is already serving a federal sentence for violating George Floyd’s civil rights.
As part of his deal, Kueng admitted that his restraint of Floyd was unreasonable and put him at substantial risk.
‘Mr. Kueng was not simply a bystander that day,’ prosecutor Matthew Frank told the court. ‘He did less than what some of the bystanders attempted to do in helping Mr. Floyd.’
Attorneys for Kueng placed the blame squarely at the feet of the Minneapolis Police Department, who they said were responsible for poorly training Kueng and his colleagues.
They also pointed to Kueng’s inexperience, noting that he was on the force for just days before Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020.
‘Mr Kueng, the rookie, sits in prison one year for every day he served the city,’ his attorney Thomas Plunkett said.
Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who is representing the Floyd family, said Kueng’s sentence is ‘yet another piece of justice for the Floyd family.’
He continued: ‘While the family faces yet another holiday season without George, we hope that moments like these continue to bring them a measure of peace, knowing that George’s death was not in vain.’
Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck, is serving a 22 1/2 year sentence after pleading guilty to both murder and manslaughter charges. He also pleaded guilty to federal charges for violating Floyd’s civil rights.
Two other former cops were charged after Floyd’s death. Thomas Lane, who held Floyd’s legs as he died, was sentenced to 3 years in prison after pleading guilty to his charges.
Tou Thao, the officer who kept bystanders away from Floyd and the other officers, has pleaded not guilty to charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. A state judge will decide his guilt in a stipulated evidence trial.
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